A “Mommy Meal” is a meal that makes your kids look at you like with the kind of affection you can only count on from your dog. I’ve never won a beauty pageant but I imagine it’s like the adulation beauty pageant winners and CEO’s get all the time. Although it’s not enough to make me put on a bathing suit with heels, or run Walmart (I’m sure they’ll call soon) I admit; I love the adoration – even from the dog. I remember giving it when my mom cooked.
Mommy meals make you feel like you’re in your mom’s house. You walk in, savor the aroma of your favorite dish, plop down on the couch and know you’re home.
It’s the food you crave when you grow up and move away because it conjures up a mental image of you; happy, cared for, loved and without bills. In our house food was love. We got a lot of food/love and so did anyone who happened to stop by.
For me, a mommy meal is a slow roasted meat dish, so tender it falls from the bone. That’s how my mom used to cook. She liked slow roasting because you could put something in the oven at 2 or 3 and by five or six it was tender perfection. It’s an easy way to cook too, you just put everything together, cover it with a lid or aluminum foil and let it bake for hours. You can keep doing what you want and when dinnertime rolls around you are praised as a culinary demigod.
One of my favorite dishes is stuffed pork chops. I bake them on a bed of onions and apples…sprinkle the chops with tenderizer, stuff them, top them with seasoned bread crumbs, strips of bacon, and let them cook. You can add baby carrots to the pan and have a one pot meal. When you pull it out of the oven, it’s moist and tender enough to eat with a fork. It’s perfect with glazed carrots or baked butternut squash and cranberry sauce. (I cooked it in my apartment oven (formerly known as Satan because it burned 18 innocent cookies) and it turned out great, so there’s no need to think you need convection or a magic wand, because you don’t.
I made it tonight and if my Italian mom had been here she would have said, “Oh Frenzy, dis issa really good… How you made it?” A few of my friends have asked that question too, so here’s the recipe:
Mommy Meal Stuffed Pork Chops – All the Love – No Bathing Suit or MBA Involved
1 package pork or chicken flavored Stove Top Stuffing (don’t mock me, I like Stove Top, it’s really easy, plus you can add things to it.)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
6 thick boneless pork chops (about 1 1/2 inches thick so you can stuff them. Costco has good ones)
6 strips of bacon (I used kielbassa tonight because I was out of bacon and it worked but I took it off for the picture)
3 medium to large apples (I use Granny Smith, but any kind will work)
3 medium to large brown onions
Seasoned bread crumbs, Progresso are good
Prepare the package of Stove Top according to directions. For this recipe you can add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and diced celery to the mix once it’s prepared. Spray a large baking pan or glass dish with Pam spray. Peel the onions and slice them in half then lengthwise so you have long strips of onion. Place the onions in the pan. Next peel and core the apples. Slice them about 1/4 inch thick, add them to the pan mixing them together with your hands.
Slice the pork chops along one side and create a pocket so you can place the stuffing inside. Sprinkle the chop lightly with tenderizer inside and out, then take several spoons full of stuffing and stuff it inside the pocket. When it’s full, press it together and lay it on its side on top of the apple-onion mixture. Repeat with each chop.
Next sprinkle the top of the pork chops with seasoned bread crumbs. I just use Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs. Next take the bacon slices, cut them in half and place them on top of the stuffed chops sprinkled with bread crumbs. (The bacon fat drips onto the chops, keeping them moist and adding more flavor.) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for about 3 hours. Chops should be golden brown. You can remove the bacon when the chops are done and place it underneath the chop when serving because who doesn’t love bacon?
Serve with Roasted butternut squash or glazed carrots and cranberry sauce. Feel the love.
Don RayMay 22, 2014 at 10:54 am
Great stuff. Reminds me of the special “Mommy” meals mine made for me. She called “the meat Don likes.” Since I was so finicky, she had to do something. She would buy those already-pounded, frozen minute steaks, put a couple of them in a casserole dish, top them with a tomato sauce blend and plop an onion slice on top (which she would carefully remove before she served it to the kit who hates onions). And as your mother taught you, even tough minute steaks become tender and juicy after an hour or two in the oven. Thanks, Fran.
Fran TunnoMay 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm
Aww Don. Onion removal proves it without a doubt — your mom loved you!
Fran TunnoJanuary 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm
It’s true Linda, they are very flavorful. Pork is probably my greatest guilty pleasure.
lafridayJanuary 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm
Almost makes me want to eat meat again. I’ll bet the bacon puts back the fat (and flavor) that modern pork chops don’t seem to have–brilliant!
rob sprogellJanuary 22, 2014 at 11:52 am
My sister used to frequent Pepe’s Cafe in Key West for their speciality dinner: a tenderloin steak smothered in pork chops all under a blanket of sautéed onions. WOW!!
Linda Cole MaydakJanuary 22, 2014 at 1:24 pm
Looks delicious! Think I have to give this recipe a try over the weekend! Thanks for the inspiration and the laughs. Love you stories 🙂
Fran TunnoJanuary 30, 2014 at 11:43 pm
Thanks Linda, I hope you like it! Spread the word.
MargaretJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:16 pm
If I were on death row, my last meal would be stuffed pork chops!! I’ve made them several times over, but have never matched my mom’s. She has always said that you needed to make many in the pan because it made better gravy. There was a place outside Clarion — was it the Wayside Inn — that had fabulous stuffed pc. They served theirs with fried potatoes :). I am so hungry now Fran, I will make these soon! Love to read your ramblings – keep it up!
Fran TunnoJanuary 22, 2014 at 4:53 am
It was the Wayside Inn and it was in Cook’s Forest. There’a s photo of all of us there, but I don’t remember how to get there now or if it’s even still there. These are a little sweeter than those were because of the apples, but they sure do hit the spot. Thanks for your support roomie.